Family Tree Research Ideas


Ask me questions about how to research (I cannot answer specific questions bout your family history but I may be able to point you in the right direction).





















Tips for organizing your research...

  1. Get a multi-subject notebook devoted only to your research.
  2. Select a family research software (like the Family Tree Maker software - you can buy online from Amazon or at a local store like Best Buy - which is a one time fee, or online software like the Ancestry site which charges a monthly fee).
  3. Meet with older members of the family and ask to borrow historical paperwork (somebody has this stuff) including birth and death certificates, cemetery plot certificates, old letters, old pictures, report cards, draft notices, any kind of document that could give you information about the past.  Record the names of the folks you borrowed material from and the date borrowed.  Store those documents and pictures borrowed in a manila envelope with their name on it.  That will make it easier to return the documents when you are finished.
  4. Photo copy all the pictures that are not identified and mail them to all living relatives (on that side of the family).  Ask them to identify all the people they can.
  5. Print a research form from one of the family history websites and send a copy to all your relatives asking them to fill it out and return it.  If you cannot find a research form containing the information, make one of your own that includes name, maiden name, birthday, birthplace, parents names and maiden names, parents birthdates, parent birth place, location of death, date of death, sibling names and children names, birthdate, birth location, other locations (addresses) where family members lived, schools attended, marriage dates, spouse names and birth dates. Record the names and contact information of all the relatives you sent research questionnaires to so you can check them off as the information is returned.
  6. Now start to record your information using the software you selected.  Use one section of your notebook to record infomation that may not be ready to be added to the family tree - but looks like a possible match.  Use another section of the notebook to make notes about work you want to complete or questions you may want to follow up on and answer.
  7. When you have recorded all of the information you have gathered so far, review your family tree.  Try to become familiar with the names and birth locations of your ancestors.  If you feel more comfortable (this is something I do) record the names and important dates of those relatives you will research first in another section of your notebook.
  8. Now it is time to search the Internet.  Many sites are available with searchable databases.  Some sites just gather the links to the sites that offer the research information (like Cyndi's List).  Some sites offer free searches (like the Latter Day Saints - LDS site) and some charge a fee for information (like the Ancestry site).  If you are planning to spend a fair amount of time on your family tree project, you might consider paying a subscription service for access to their database. 



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